Rewarding the Best: Part IV

Date Posted: 28/04/2014

In our fourth interview, we spoke with Frankie Read, 2013 Excellence Award finalist, and found out more about her role at Park Resorts and what the holiday parks can offer groups.

Name: Frankie Read
Title: Partnerships and Groups Manager
Company: Park Resorts
Number of years working in group travel: Two
Favourite work destination: I haven’t visited all of the Park Resorts locations yet, but so far my favourites are Lower Hyde (Shanklin, Isle of Wight) and Camber Sands (near Rye, East Sussex)
Favourite holiday destination: Florida

The Excellence Award recognises the commitment and dedication of an individual within the supplier sector, highlighting those who truly go the extra mile to provide an outstanding service. Nominations and votes are cast by group travel organisers, before the winner is announced at the annual Group Leisure Awards.

Congratulations on making it to the final four of the 2013 Excellence Award Frankie. Could you tell us about your role and how you became involved in group travel?

Thank you! I joined the team at Park Resorts two years ago initially to manage partnerships and then I had the opportunity to become involved in group travel as well.

What would you say are the main highlights of your job?

Every day is different and presents new challenges but when you receive positive feedback from a group travel organiser it’s so rewarding.

To know that you’ve helped make their job as an organiser a little easier makes everything worthwhile and of course the best compliment we can receive is when a group chooses to come back and stay with us again.

How do you think the group travel industry has changed in your experience?

I still feel fairly new to group travel but there’s definitely been a growth in this area of the business

Do you think that's a reflection of the economy?

Group bookings are certainly beneficial as we offer some great discounts however I think there is more to it than that. More and more people are realising how important it is to make the most of their free time.

Whether this is an extended family getting together for a fun-packed break or professionally organised sporting events where parents are supporting their children, group travel is a great opportunity for family and friends to spend some quality time together that they may not always be able to do in their day-to-day life.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your role?

Availability! Sometimes we are approached with really great opportunities from group organisers but simply don’t have enough accommodation for their event which can be frustrating.

There are also times when dealing with organisers who are fairly new to this area of travel when they leave their planning until quite late and again this can be a challenge in terms of finding availability as we are constantly taking bookings from regular customers as well.

Could you highlight any destinations which you have found to be particularly popular with groups?

Yorkshire, Kent & Sussex and the Isle of Wight are all very popular regions and in particular Cayton Bay (Scarborough, North Yorkshire), Camber Sands (near Rye, East Sussex), Lower Hyde (Shanklin, Isle of Wight) and Thorness Bay (near Cowes, Isle of Wight) are all firm favourites in terms of our parks.

However we’ve also seen an increased interest in some of our smaller parks on the Isle of Sheppey (Shurland Dale, Ashcroft Coast and Warden Springs), due to their proximity to London and the Channel Tunnel these parks are ideal for overseas school trips.

Could you name any up and coming destinations which you would recommend for groups over the next few years?

The UK! We are lucky enough to live in a country that has everything from traditional seaside resorts, fab beaches, stunning coastlines, beautiful countryside and of course a wealth of history. Park Resorts has 41 holiday parks around the UK so take your pick.

How do you enjoy spending your free time?

Spending time with family and friends, days out, movies, holidays.

Were you surprised to be nominated for The Excellence Award?

Yes. Not only was this the first time that Park Resorts has been nominated but we were finalists in two separate categories.

I felt privileged to be nominated for this award especially after such a short time working with groups, but I couldn’t have achieved this without the support of my colleagues and the fantastic teams on our parks who go the extra mile to ensure everything runs smoothly for our guests during their break.

What's the key to your success?

New ideas and developments are welcome at Park Resorts especially those that benefit our customers, so to have ownership of this area and be able to implement such changes has been great.

I have a background in customer service and always looking at ways to improve the customer journey and exceed expectations.

I also have to thank the GTOs, it’s been a pleasure working with them and I’ve learnt a lot from them, we share a common goal to make their event a success, deliver a fantastic holiday experience for their group and create amazing memories for everyone.

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